Intelligence: January 15, 2000


One of the loopholes in the new Digital Combat force the US Army is building has always been that the ever-changing database of enemy units in the area relies mostly on human beings making accurate observations and coherent reports, which are then compiled by overworked staffers working in vulnerable command posts. The Army is, however, working on a solution for this problem. Plans call for the development of a small "package" which will including seismic sensors to detect the vibration of moving enemy units, acoustic sensors to detect the sound of enemy units, and magnetic sensors that could detect passing armored vehicles. Hundreds of these packages could be scattered over the battlefield by various means (artillery, unmanned drone, helicopter, even ground units). Their reports would then be linked into a computer system, creating a "total picture" of what the enemy is doing. (Other sensors with infrared cameras could also be integrated.) Because no human beings are involved, and because the sensors could observe areas that US troops could not see, the data can be generated in real time and provide US troops with the kind of "total awareness" of enemy actions that the digital combat system would depend on. --Stephen V Cole


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